By Larry Simoneaux
Once again, I’m going to mention my granddaughter whom, this summer, I’ll take fishing for the last time in what will be a long while.
As I’ve previously mentioned, she’ll soon be moving to Texas with our daughter, and this will put a severe crimp on our outings to local lakes in search of a mess of trout.
The reason I’ll miss these trips is a universal one among those of us who’ve taken our kids and grandkids fishing. It’s the look on their faces while they’re out there. Take a kid fishing, stand back and watch, then try not to smile.
Admit it. Can’t be done. Not possible. Just give up trying.
The problem for dads and granddads, though, is that that look is addictive. See it once and you want to see it again. See it again and it becomes a habit. Make it a habit and, no matter what happens later in life, you’ll always have those days fishing and, with all of the foolishness around us, that isn’t such a bad thing.
Worth noting also is the fact that “that look” doesn’t change as the kids age. It just gets better. Too, while they’re out there “doing nothing” they tend to pick up lessons that’ll serve them well as they get older. All for the price of a rod and reel plus a few worms.
Some of these lessons are taught in schools. Others, I’m sure, are written down in books with serious titles. Unfortunately, what they get from books and school is seldom as stimulating or as much fun as what they get while fishing with dad or granddad.
The following are just a few things my granddaughter has picked up while fishing:
•Newer and better isn’t always the way to go. In fact, simple is sometimes the best recipe for success. My granddaughter and I often use worms and those goofy-looking red and white bobbers. It’s old-fashioned, southern-style fishing. We often limit out while others nearby look on with envy.
When all else fails, try patience. We cast those bobbers and worms out there and just sat back and waited. There were spells when the fish weren’t biting. We usually spent that time daydreaming, exploring the nearby woods, or just talking with each other. In these days of Twitter, text messages, video games, and what have you, such moments are few and far between and need to be grabbed whenever possible.
Just because no one else is doing what you’re doing doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong or that you have to change. We picked our method, stuck with it, and came home with just as many fish.
Persistence pays off. It’s actually the twin partner of patience. We stayed when others left. We fished when others quit. If we’d stopped when the fish first quit biting, we wouldn’t have caught the big ones that came by later in the day.
Sometimes good things happen while you’re doing something else. Once, long ago, while fishing with my daughter, a fish she caught fell under the floorboards of our boat. I knew it was a dumb thing to do, but we put our rods down and started removing the floorboards. While we were messing around, our lines got tangled. Naturally, the biggest fish of the day chose that moment to strike. I think people across the lake heard us laughing. Don’t know what they thought seeing us thrashing around with loose floorboards, waving tangled gear all over the place, all while there’s this fish dangling between two poles. It didn’t matter. We caught him.
These days, it’s a lot tougher for kids. Things aren’t as safe or as simple as they used to be and kids are being made to grow up a lot faster than they should. Still, there’s fishing with my granddaughter and, in the long run, I think it beats just about any program that government, the experts, or the schools can come up with to help them learn a few things that will serve them well as they get older.
And that’s one reason I’m not looking forward to losing my youngest fishing partner. Another is that she’s the only one who’ll put up with me. Call me selfish and I’ll admit to it. Gladly and with good reason.
However, one final warning. If a fish ever gets loose in your boat, just leave the floorboards alone. They can be embarrassing.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.